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Club News

Madrid Trip For Young Whites

Spanish start as Darby looks forward to new role

9 June 2022

Wanderers’ Youth Team is heading to Spain as part of their preparations for the new season.

A squad of U18s – supplemented by some members of the younger Academy sides – will make the trip to Madrid at the end of July.

The 12-day stay, funded and organised by the League Football Education, will serve as a training camp for the young Whites with three matches scheduled against local opposition.

And the trip will also involve an educational and cultural element as part of a rounded experience for the young players from Wanderers and a handful of other clubs, including a number from the EFL.

Dave Gardiner.jpg

“It’s an excellent opportunity for the boys to spend part of their pre-season in another country with everything that involves,” said Wanderers’ recently-appointed Head of Academy Dave Gardiner (above).

“They will learn a lot on and off the pitch and it’s an ideal way for the new scholars to bed in and for all the players to build up towards the new season Everyone’s looking forward to it.”

With Gardiner stepping up to his new role as part of an Academy re-shuffle, the U18s will be led this season by Julian Darby.

The former Wanderers’ midfielder (below) moves up from the U16s to become youth-team coach and will be looking to help the young players under his charge follow in the footsteps he took when breaking into the Bolton first-team in the mid-1980s.

Julian Darby.jpg

“It’s exciting. Look at where we’re at, look at the facilities. It’s my club. This is where I want to be and hopefully with my experience I can help to bring kids through, which is where I was a long time ago,” said Darby, 54, who made close to 300 appearances for Wanderers as part of a lengthy playing career which preceded coaching stints at Preston, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.

“We hope to progress some young talent through the club, which is what the role entails.

“It’s been a while since Ronan Darcy and Adam Senior got into the first team and we need to get some more in there and hopefully stay in there.

“That’s our role now, so hopefully we can move along some of the young lads who I had last year at U16s, who have moved up to the U18s, and last year’s first-years who are now second-year scholars.”

The youth team will also play a number of pre-season friendlies in this country before the start of their EFL Youth Alliance campaign in August.

Details to follow in due course.


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